Is it safe for pregnant women to exercise?

Is it safe for pregnant women to exercise?

There are lots of myths floating around about exercising during pregnancy. So, is it safe for a mom-to-be to run, walk, swim and bike? KPLC 7News speaks with a local OB/GYN to get the answer.

A strong heartbeat can be heard from Stephanie Cox's 17-week-old baby boy. Strong like his mom, who is an active Navy Reservist.

"I've always been active outside, hunting, fishing and animals," she said.

When Cox went through her first pregnancy three years ago, she was not sure about how active she could continue to be. But Women and Children's OB/GYN Dr. TriCia Guidry said pregnancy should not halt a woman from getting moving each day.

"If they were already active and somewhat of an athlete, they can continue their routine," said Dr. Guidry.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. The exercise helps the mom's physical and mental state and it also gives cardiac benefits to the unborn child.

"It can help with delivery," said Dr. Guidry, "good muscle tone is always important for anything and it will help with the post-partum process of getting that muscle tone back."

While exercises like running, walking and swimming are great during a pregnancy, certain exercises should always be off limits while you are pregnant. That includes snow skiing, water skiing, scuba diving and high contact sports.

"Also horseback riding and cycling on a street," said Dr. Guidry, "but a stationary bike is okay."

If you have had an issue with pre-term labor before, it is important to have your doctor involved in your exercise plan and always listen to your body.

"Pain, shortness of breath, swelling that's unusual for them in their activity," said Dr. Guidry.

Cox is not scaling back on what her body's accustomed to - staying in shape with her three-year-old and conditioned for the demands of a new baby.

"I can't not be active," said Cox, "it's not me to not be active."

It is also important to not get overheated and dehydrated when the weather is warm. Drink plenty of fluids, even if you do not feel thirsty.

Here is a list of some of the conditions that would make exercise unsafe during pregnancy: vaginal bleeding, cervical problems, leaking amniotic fluid, dizziness or fainting and high blood pressure.

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